Tuesday 23 January 2018

Jose Mourinho confident Paul Pogba will be a Man United player before season starts

The Portuguese also took the opportunity to have a pop at rival managers

Jose Mourinho is hopeful of a deal for Paul Pogba will be completed
Jose Mourinho is hopeful of a deal for Paul Pogba will be completed

Ian Whittell

Jose Mourinho is confident that he will sign Paul Pogba by the time the new Premier League season kicks off and the Manchester United manager has criticised rival managers for their reaction to the world record transfer.

The new United manager still refuses to discuss the Juventus midfielder by name as the two clubs put the finishing touches to a world record deal that will exceed £100 million.

And Mourinho has described rival managers, such as Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger as “unethical” for talking openly about the Pogba fee and questioning whether such a colossal price tag is good for the game.

But, whatever the validity of such claims, it is clear that Pogba’s arrival at Old Trafford is imminent and, if the manager has his wish, in his squad by the time of their visit Bournemouth a week on Sunday.

“Yes, we have 22 players and we are going to have 23,” said Mourinho when asked if a signing was close.

“I don’t like to speak about other clubs or players from other clubs. Other managers like to do that, they like to speak about my club and my players. I am very pragmatic on this. All that matters is what happens in my house and not in my neighbour’s house.

“Paul Pogba is a Juventus player until he isn’t, officially, so we stay like this. The market closes on August 31 but I think my club is trying to do everything to close our market before the 14th. Normally, next week, we will have our squad closed.”

Wenger had described the potential Pogba fee as “completely crazy” while Klopp had said he wanted no part of being involved in such an inflated transfer market - comments that clearly did not sit well with United’s manager.

“I only speak about us,” said Mourinho. “I heard already two of my colleagues from other clubs speaking about us. I do not like that. It is not ethical.

“There are things that when I do are not ethical and when others do it everything is normal, nobody says that. I do not speak about the others. They can do what they want.

“Our market was good. We made decisions, decide to bring four players not 10, that are Man Unted level. Four that we think can really improve the squad and not just be one more. This is the profile of our market.

“A young defender that needs time to be a top one but who has top potential. A creative player that we know the quality, a super striker, and we are going to get a very good midfield player. We try for balance. I am happy with my squad. I am happy with the effort of the club. The others it is their problem.”

With those signings Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic already in at United ahead of Pogba, certain players will find themselves surplus to requirements under Mourinho.

One of those is Germany veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mourinho has been criticised for the manner in which he has discarded the respected midfielder from his first team plans and squad.

“It is the same as in every club in the world,” said Mourinho. “The manager decides his squad and chooses a certain number of players to face the season. That is it.

“I normally like to work with 20 players plus the three goalkeepers, which is what I have done for 15 years, because we have so many players but at the same time we have so many competitions and especially the Europa League.

“That is a competition that changes a lot at the start of the season, with 15 matches and playing on the Thursday, a big risk of a lot of travel. You play Premier League on Sundays. I made the decision to be with 23 plus three goalkeepers, which is still a lot. I had to make my decisions. It is simple.”

Independent News Service

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